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blog Foodbuilding as Worldbuilding — Creating Fantasy Cuisines

Discussion in 'World Building' started by Ban, Jun 30, 2019.

  1. Ban

    Ban Sir Laserface Article Team

    Ban submitted a new blog post:

    Foodbuilding as Worldbuilding — Creating Fantasy Cuisines
    by Karstenberg


    The foods we stuff down our gullets reflect the society we have established, the way we live our lives, and even our attitudes towards food itself. A society reliant on cheese must have established the necessary production and transport networks, while a person subsisting on caviar and champagne is unlikely to live the life of a wandering barbarian.

    What you eat reflects who you are and your position in the world. As high-tech residents of the modern world, many of us can afford to not think about food in any depth. But would a hunter-gatherer struggling to survive be able to do likewise?

    Where you are born also shapes your tastes and food norms. What is considered normal in one culture may be seen as exotic in another. Imagine then how different the eating habits of a fantasy race must be?

    Like all things fantasy, fantasy food has the right to be fantastic. Centaurs and orcs should not need to eat the same as humans, and neither should elves, dwarves, pixies, or eldritch monsters.

    To spread my foodbuilding obsession to the rest of the fiction world, I have written a short 4 part guide to helping you build a unique culinary world for your fantasy races. I hope they will help you build some wonderful (or horrid) foods for yourself and readers to immerse themselves in.

    Continue reading the Original Blog Post.
  2. Love this post! The cuisine/food building aspect is always one of my favorites to dive into in stories and fantasy worlds. I could work on this more than any other type of world building if left to my own devices. My own love of cooking and food taught me that not all food cultures are created equal and that there is no end to the possibilities.

    Lately I've been more prone to working around preservation methods within my stories. Picked, cured, salted and fermented foods are easy to create, require little in the way of advanced technology (at least in the old fashioned ways of doing them) and can be life saving in times of hardship as well as prosperous in short distance trading and exploration.

    There are a vast enough array of food cultures on our planet to assist in inventing cuisines for every creature we can dream up to inhabit our worlds. And there are few things more fun to name than your own unique dishes, including the animals and plants that become part of the food chain as you go.

    Discovering what grows in certain climates, what foods become literal "treasures" in the right season or agricultural situation and how foods traveled across the world all may inspire our greater worldbuilding from top to bottom.

    One of my favorite sources is the Foods of England website which lists recipes and lovely little descriptions in the lexicon and measurements of the day from Victorian era England and earlier. Drinks, desserts, puddings. . . even rotten fruit. it's all there.

    Inspiring to say the least.

    Loved your take on food building Ban and I hope to see more discussions of the topic here in the future!
    Ban and Black Dragon like this.
  3. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

    Great post! I very much like how you give consideration to non-human foods and how those might work out. Well done, Queso Kid!
    Ban and Black Dragon like this.
  4. blondie.k

    blondie.k Minstrel

    Amazing insight. I'm bookmarking this!

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